County okays funding park septic

Mayor writes two additional grants for recreation upgrades


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  • Photo by Linda Smith Hancharick



“Applying for this year’s open space funds for this matter would not be feasible as the funding would be achieved too late to begin immediate construction. Since this is a matter of public health and safety, I am personally and earnestly imploring, on behalf of our residents, that you give great consideration to the following funding request.”
Mayor Bettina Bieri in her request to the county for the funding to replace the Bubbling Springs Park septic
The numbers
2006 Bubbling Springs Engineering Grant funds remaining: $54,377.50
Freeholders' Open Space Discretionary Funds: $25,622.50
Matching West Milford Municipal Funds: $80,000.00
Total Funding for Bubbling Springs Septic: $160,000.00

BY LINDA SMITH HANCHARICK
Passaic County has approved a request by the township to pay 50 percent of the cost to install a new septic system at Bubbling Springs Park.

“West Milford Township has a wonderful partnership and cooperative relationship with Passaic County, especially with regard to the Open Space & Recreational Grants,” said Mayor Bettina Bieri. “In this case, based upon my personal plea, the County not only recognized the urgency and need for the Bubbling Springs septic to be replaced as soon as possible, but they fast-tracked my special request and granted all of the funding requested in the amount of $80,000. This will allow us to immediately go out to bid and get the project done. ”

Bieri requested that the county repurpose a 2006 engineering grant for Bubbling Springs in a letter to Freeholder Pat Lapore. In it, she explained the value of Bubbling Springs, that it is the township’s most visible and highly-utilized recreational facility.

“It consists of ballfields, a lake, park areas, walking trails, a beach area, a playground, a gazebo, a concession stand and rest rooms,” Bieri said in her letter. “The park is used by all ages, virtually year round, although most of the usage is obviously in warm weather months.”

With several open grants - money approved to the township but not used - the council agreed to request that the money be repurposed for the septic system.

The septic system is failing
“It would obviously be a tremendous loss if this facility needed to be shut down due to the failing septic,” Bieri said in her memo.

The township recently got the estimate to replace the system, which will run $160,000, including all oversight. The county came through. It approved repurposing what is left of the 2006 grant, $54,377.50. Bieri also requested and received $25,622.50 in Freeholder Open Space Discretionary Funds for the project, bringing the total grant money up to $80,000. The township will pay the other half.

Open space grants requested
The township has been the recipient of many open space grants over the years. Last year though, the township did not apply for the county grants. According to Bieri, she found out no application was being made this year either. So she got to work on applying for the county funds.

With consent of the council, Bieri has submitted grant applications to the county to pay for improvements at Farrell Field and development of a playground at the CYO property on Nosenzo Pond Road.

The Farrell Field funding totals $115,600, with half requested from the county and half coming from the township’s open space fund.

“The project consists of an upgrade and resurfacing of one soccer field to improve safety, increase usage and enhance the quality of sports activities,” according to the grant application.

The Nosenzo Pond Road property was purchased by the township with the help of county open space funds in 2011. The township is seeking $32,947.50 from the county for this project, half of the total $65,895 to purchase and install the playground equipment.

Councilwoman Michele Dale thanked the mayor for “going above and beyond” in writing the two grants.

“At the end of the day, we have opportunities now we didn’t have two weeks ago,” said Dale.

The grant applications are due to the county by Friday, March 14. The township will hold a public hearing on the grant requests for Farrell Field and the CYO property at its March 19 meeting, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The township is under no obligation to accept the grants, if they are approved.

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